How a Listening Program Can Improve Your Child’s Attention, Regulation and Communication

Introducing: The Total Listening Program

Sometimes solutions to life’s various problems seem too good to be true. We want an easy fix for issues that negatively impact our performance, our appearance, our physical and mental health, yet we are skeptical of products or practices that claim to provide that (and for good reason). This month, we highlight a program that could very well seem too good to be true, but that could actually make a positive impact on you and your child’s well-being. Is it an easy fix? Of course not; children with special needs require a multitude of interventions to suit the complexity of their individual challenges. But perhaps, just maybe, something called the Total Listening Program can help. Read on for more information about this fascinating protocol.

Please click the links below to follow CTC on social media and to leave a review!


When Things Get Too Loud

This children’s book is for children and parents alike, and is a thoughtful, creative way to help explain what it’s like for children who experience sensory overload, what triggers it and strategies that can help. Little Bo often finds the world to be an overwhelming place, and uses his Feel-O-Meter to recognize and understand his feelings.

Product: Noise-cancelling headphones

For parents of children with auditory sensitivity to sound, consider investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to reduce the impact of auditory assaults that are present in everyday life.

Please ask about CTC’s selections of products, located within our clinic!

The Listening Program Can Improve the Lives of your Child and Family

An outline of the program and its benefits

For those who have a reliable sense of hearing, sound is likely something that is taken for granted most moments of each day. Sound is all around us, whether or not we pause long enough to recognize its impact. It evokes a wide-ranging spectrum of emotions, creating in us a sense of calm, wonder, melancholy, angst, loneliness, longing, anger, stress, fear, hope, delight and ecstasy, to name a small portion.

Those doubting the power that sound holds over us should think of these: a loved one’s laughter (joy); multiple emergency vehicle sirens (anxiety); your favorite song (happiness); children arguing… AGAIN (exasperation); ocean waves (peace); a thunderstorm (fear or tranquilty); and a newborn baby’s cry (from the womb: relief; in the wee hours of the night for a new parent: stress). The possibilities of sounds and subsequent feelings for each individual are endless.

Now imagine if the typical sounds of each moment of each day created a sense of dissent that interrupted your thoughts, feelings and actions in a way that negatively impacted the way you live. This is a position that many children and parents are currently in. They observe their child, typically one with sensory impairments and/or a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, to have a notable negative reaction towards sounds that otherwise do not phase most other children. To their young one, the sound of mom or dad vacuuming the living room rug is torture, as is the sound of a hand dryer at a restaurant or a hair dryer as mom runs through her typical morning routine. The child’s resulting aversive reactions often create havoc in a family’s day-to-day living and restrict their participation in events that would typically be considered fun and memorable—think birthday parties, parades, visits with Santa, firework displays, visits to the theater, and more.

For those with sensory impairments, auditory hypersensitivity is often the culprit behind their over-reactions to sounds. It is probable, in many cases, that the individual experiences hypersensitivity in other senses as well, such as in taste, smell, touch, movement and/or visual stimulation. Ironically, it is possible for these same individuals to simultaneously experience hyposensitivity to various sensory input, exhibiting less-than-typical sensitivity to stimuli in their environment.

Further research has indicated that for children who have difficulty tolerating various sounds, the auditory system itself may not be the underlying issue; rather, connections between the auditory system and the emotional system cause the child to have oversensitivity to certain sounds and a resulting negative emotional response when hearing them* (Lucker, & Doman, 2019).

The Listening Program (TLP), by Advanced Brain Technologies, is a listening program that has demonstrated notable improvements in children with auditory sensitivity. TLP uses acoustically modified music and sounds to help improve listening in children and improve their emotional reaction to sound. Carefully chosen and curated instrumental music plays through air and bone conduction headphones as the child passively listens in 15 minute increments, typically 1-2 times per day in their home, clinic and/or school setting. Spectrum, one of TLP’s listening programs, is described as “a highly specialized program developed as the primary listening training for people with sensory sensitivities” and its protocol outlines that it should be followed for at least two cycles (50 hours) and up to found (100 hours) total.

Parents of children who participate consistently and appropriately in their TLP regime often note the first improvement in their child’s level of functioning as being calmer. Over the course of training, children also tend to demonstrate increased attentiveness to the sounds they hear, often leading to improved verbal communication. Through the use of calming, low-frequency sounds, the TLP reduces the “fight or flight” response that children with sensory issues often have towards sound, resulting in improved emotional response.

Back-to-School Healthy Eating

School is back in session! Include healthy lunch staples this year.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs are an easy, portable and protein-packed lunch idea that many kids will love. Cut in halves and include a small container of spice (Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend is great for dipping egg halves in!) or mash it with mayonnaise and include crackers for scooping.


Soups may seem difficult to include in your child’s lunch (who’s going to heat it up?) but an easy tip can help you include this satisfying meal: simply fill a thermos with boiling water while you pack lunches, let it sit for several minutes, then dump and fill with soup. It will stay toasty until the lunch bell rings!

Dehydrated Fruit

Sending apple slices or a whole banana with your child does not always seem ideal, as it can brown or half will be wasted. Consider sending unsweetened dried or dehydrated fruit instead- they’ll still reap the benefits of antioxidents, and leftovers can be salvaged.

Dark Chocolate

Instead of filling your child’s lunch with processed pastry products or candy with artificial colors and ingredients, pack a square or two of a high quality dark chocolate, preferably 70% or greater. They’ll enjoy a chocolate boost with added brain benefits!

Many of TLP’s promoted benefits are anecdotal, although ever-increasing research studies are being conducted and published. A number of research studies have examined the effects of TLP on participants, often including children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), learning disabilities, Down syndrome, and even those who have difficulty with toilet training, and have shown positive outcomes.

In one such study, the following results were reported:

Following a regiment of daily listening to this music, research has demonstrated significant improvements in listening (called auditory processing) and educational performance as noted by greater focusing and listening in the classroom, improvements in educational performance on standardized measures, and greater participation in educational activities.*

Here at Children’s Therapy Connections, a number of families currently participate in the Total Listening Program, many of whom have noted similar improvements in their child as those listed above. If you are interested in learning more about TLP, please call our office or discuss with your child’s therapist(s). We can provide more information and look into the possibility of trialing the program with your child, in order to see if it would be a good fit. A free trial of TLP can also be found on Advanced Brain Technologies’ website at There is no credit card required. As the program and CTC stresses, only families who can reliably commit to the schedule of your child’s TLP module should consider participating, as benefits are less likely to be noted if consistency is not maintained.

Living with the frustrations and limitations of auditory sensitivity can be a significant limitation for children and adults alike. With the Total Listening Program, there is hope that children and their families can gain a sense of calm and control in this unpredictable, chaotic and beautiful world full of sound.

*Lucker, J. R., & Doman, A. (2019, January 28). Use of Acoustically Modified Music to Reduce Auditory Hypersensitivity in Children. Music and Medicine, 11(1), 48.

Content of this newsletter was written by:
Megan A. Miller, M.S., CCC-SLP

Please contact Megan with any questions or comments at: